Meg GAILLARD has gone from series leader to series winner after crossing the finish line first in both races yesterday at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Sailing being run from Lauderdale Yacht Club.
That performance turned her lock on the lead position into a mathematically unbeatable low score with two races remaining in the planned 16-race event. Gaillard can easily afford to sit out the final two races of the series, even though doing so adds 15 points to her score for each race in which she takes a DNS. Competitors are allowed to drop their two worst finishes.
Gaillard set the pace from the outset of the regatta, only failing once to cross the finish line first - in race 10 - when she finished second to Kathleen TOCKE. She and two other sailors were over the starting line early, an infraction that required them to restart properly, leaving Gaillard with some ground to make up. She was in fifth place in the 14 boat Europe fleet at the windward mark, third at the leeward mark, and second at the finish.
"I learned a bit every time, which definitely helped,"
replied Gaillard when asked how this Olympic Trials (her third) differed from the two previous Trials in which she finished fourth (the 1996 Trials in the 470 Women's event), and second (the 2000 Trials in the Europe class). Of her competitors in Ft. Lauderdale she noted that she had to work hard as "with all the training the girls have done, they have closed the gap."
And although undecided as to how or where she would celebrate her win of the Trials, there is no doubt as to where she will be in August; representing the U.S.A. at the Olympic Games in Athens.
Kevin HALL finished 3-1 in yesterday's two races for the 23 boat Finn class, also being sailed from Lauderdale Yacht Club, building his 13 point lead into a formidable 21 point spread. Geoff EWENSON, with 43 points, remains second overall after finishes of 6-10 today and Bryan BOYD is just one point further back, with 44, on scores of 4-3. The Finns are scheduled to sail the two remaining races of their series today.
On Biscayne Bay, light winds kept the 49er, Tornado and Yngling fleets postponed ashore for a good part of the day. The breeze finally settled in at 5-7 knots which allowed three races to be held for both the 49er and Yngling sailors, and two for the Tornado class. However, it made for a late day on the water, with most racing concluding after 1800.
The six Yngling teams can now count a second discard in their scoring after completing three more races in their series. Hannah SWETT with Joan TOUCHETTE and Melissa PURDY finished 1-1-3 to move up from fourth to second overall with 29 points. They stand just three points behind leaders Carol CRONIN, Liz FILTER and Nancy HABERLAND who posted finishes of 2-4-1. Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI dropped to third place overall with 32 points after finishes of 3-3-4. Betsy ALISON, Lee ICYDA and Suzy LEECH, also lost ground with finishes of 4-5-5, and are now tied on 37 points with Jody SWANSON, Cory SERTL and Elizabeth KRATZIG who placed 5-2-2. The two teams are fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
In the 49er class, Tim WADLOW and Pete SPAULDING won the last race of the day after taking fourth in both of the previous races. They still command the leader's position with a low score of 41 and a 13-point margin. Andy MACK and Adam LOWRY have moved up to second overall after adding the day's finishes of 2-3-4 to give them 54 points. An eighth in the opening race of the afternoon was followed with a win and a third-place finish by Dalton BERGAN and Zack MAXAM. While they traded down a spot in the standings, they are only one point out of second. The final three races for the 11-boat 49er fleet will be sailed today.
After no wind on the previous day, the plan to get the Tornado sailors out on the water earlier yesterday was foiled by the light air. Two races were finally completed with no change in positions among the top-three boats. Trading wins, two-time Olympians John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE posted finishes of 2-1 to the 1-2 claimed by Lars GUCK and Jonathan FARRAR, leaving them with the same point spread as they started the day - Lovell and Ogletree with 12 to the 17 owned by Guck and Farrar. Robbie DANIEL and Enrique RODRIGUEZ remain in third place overall after finishes of 4-5 for 32 points.
Full results are on the event website at the address below.